Cardinals baseball team sweeps Manistee

Big Rapids baserunner Keaton Ballard heads to second base against Manistee. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids’ baseball team has a huge predistrict game coming up on Tuesday at home with Cedar Springs.

But the Cardinals are focused on finishing the regular-season this week in winning fashion.

They swept Manistee 9-2 and 7-0 at home on Tuesday in nonleague games.

“We’re starting to play better,” Big Rapids coach Sam Daugherty said. “The missing piece the past several weeks has been our defense. Our defense has improved. Pitching continues to do well. Our hitting continues to do well. Hopefully we’re beginning to peak at the right time.”

Keaton Ballard pitched three innings in winning the first game, allowing no earned runs and striking out seven.

Connor Kinnally had two hits and three stolen bases while Jayden Mason had a hit and two runs scored, plus three RBIs.

In the second game, Kinnally started and went two innings. Jace Gray had a double and two stolen bases. Kinnally, Elliott Blair and Jaycob Martinson had hits.

“We played pretty good,” Big Rapids’ Cam Clark said. “We weren’t exactly expecting this type of pitching which was slower than normal.”

Big Rapids (18-9) plays at Fremont on Thursday and at Traverse City West on Friday, leading into Tuesday’s predistrict game.

“We have two big conference games with Fremont, essentially for second place,” Daugherty said. “Playing TC West and Fremont are two really good opponents in preparation for next Tuesday. We beefed our schedule up this year to play better competition in anticipation of the district tournament.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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